At a meeting of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council’s Corporate Policy Committee, Councillor Russell Watton put forward the following motion. “That this council at a time of austerity and public funding cuts seeks the executive to review and reassess the disgraceful inflated salaries paid to SPADS (Special advisers).
Outlining his reasons for bringing this motion forward, Cllr Watton said: “I bring this motion because of a sense of outrage at the recent voting down of a modest, too modest in my view motion to reduce the SPADS salaries from £92,000 to £78,000 per annum. This is almost twice as much as an MLA, more than an MP and £50,000 less than the Prime Minister. A reduction to £78,000 a year must have been too painful for many it must be really difficult to live on £78,000 a year. I have people living in my estate not getting £8,000 a year.”
“Two hours before this motion the assembly chamber was practically empty for a debate on autism and special needs but come the SPADS motion the benches were packed to capacity and that certainly sent some signal to the public. The motion was defeated by an unholy alliance of Sinn Fein and the DUP.”
“In the case of Sinn Fein who claim that they only pay an industrial wage of £22,000 which I don’t believe for a moment it potentially means that £70,000 goes into the party coffers. This is an income stream among there many others, that they are obviously not going to vote against, hence making them the richest party in the British Isles. How they support such salaries and then plead incessantly about their concern for the underprivileged and the most vulnerable in our society is quite frankly beyond me.”
“Although it might not be beyond the people before profits candidates who will be opposing them in the next election. As regards the DUP apart from one individual I have yet to meet anyone from that party who thinks this is right or just. Why they would fight so strongly for SPADS is debatable….is it because of who brought the motion or because they are a pool of potential MLAs or MPs.”
“I can just imagine what the old working class Loyalist like the late James McClure would have thought of such a stance ,then again I know what he would have said I know this motion wont change things but I want the ordinary working people of this Borough to know that there are some in here who do care.”
“There are some who are not wedded to fat cat salaries , expenses and narrow political interests. The jobs for the boys of this self serving elite are an affront to those who have to struggle week by week. I propose this motion accordingly.”
The motion was defeated at committee but was passed at last week’s Full Council meeting.